Fatherhood: The one thing guaranteed is change… A daunting prospect for some.
Your just trying to find your feet in life. Thinking about starting a career, going to university, getting a promotion or even finishing school, and out comes the line “I think I’m pregnant.”
At this point your heart sinks into your stomach and your head is filled with questions and thoughts.
‘Mundo’ Parker, 24, a typical ‘lad’ from Mansfield is going through that exact process. To ’Mundo’ there is nothing better than a night out with the boys, a game of football at the weekend and a fair amount of time on his Xbox.
A late comer to university, he is currently just in his first year studying Graphic Design in Sheffield. Everything is about to change.
‘Mundo’ admitting that the news was still very “fresh” to him said, “I don’t know what is going to happen with Uni, I have some huge decisions to make.” When asked what his first thoughts were when he found out his girlfriend was pregnant he said “I was shocked, but excited. Straight away I said that I wanted to keep it, and she told me she did to.”
Half of all pregnancies are unplanned and its only natural to consider all your available options. “Thoughts about adoption or getting rid of it never crossed my mind, I can understand that some people would feel like they weren’t ready or that they aren’t in the right situation to have a kid. Personally, I couldn’t do it. I feel like I’m at the age where I don’t have to be scared about it any more.”
The average age for becoming a father in the U.K is 32. No matter what age you are it’s always going to have a huge effect on your life, financially, emotionally and within your lifestyle.
“I still want to be able to do all the things I was doing before, but obviously at the beginning there is going to be some sleepless nights and all of that. Thinking about it, it’s probably going to be one of the hardest things I’ve done. Going from being one of the boys to having a child of my own.”
The news that he was going to be a dad was a massive shock. “I haven’t let the university know about my situation yet, I’ve kind of hidden myself away for the last few weeks; getting my head around everything. I’m going to keep my options open but it wouldn’t feel right leaving her to look after the baby and me run away to uni… so it looks like I’ll be leaving.”
If he does choose to stay in University there is plenty of help available for him. The government’s Child Care Grant, Parents Learning Allowance and Child Tax Credit is available when applying for a student loan.
‘Mundo’ believes that being in a long-term relationship has helped to make the decision easier, “The missus has to come first, it’s happening to her and she has to go through the pregnancy. I’ve just got to be there for her. It was always her decision to make.”
Having a “good relationship” means that he already has someone there for them when the times get tough. “When it all sinks in a bit more I’m sure I will have my moments where I struggle to cope. Where the reality of it hits me. I think it’s just about adapting and realising the changes I’ve got to make, I have thought about it everyday, and I’m happy. It’s one of the biggest things that could happen to a person, it’s going to take a while.”
The internet can be a powerful tool in helping with difficult situations such as this. It can put you in contact with people going through the same thing as you. Give you the information you need and the ability to share other people’s experiences.
Going through a similar situation? Here are some links you might find useful:
Written by Michael Apps.